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tv   Asian Pacific America with Robert Handa  NBC  September 6, 2015 5:30am-6:01am PDT

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♪ hello, welcome to "asian pacific america." i am robert handa, your host for the show on nbc bay area bay area and cozi tv. we start with a favorite group putting on a community celebration. chinese historical society and unique above and beyond chinatown festival. then get ready for the dragon boat race. it is a unique event and takes place with a fun festival in its wake. later, we are showing you big community events. and then the tradition of artistic, cultural performances, two artists taking part in san francisco world percussion
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festival, one making a return visit to the show, the other helps run the festival. that's all coming up. we are fans of chinese historical society museum and we are talking about their big event above and beyond chinatown. joining me pam wong, coordinator, and amy lamb, in charge of design and communication for the museum. thank you both for being here. >> thanks for having us. >> first of all, before we talk about the festival, bring us up to date in terms of the museum, how's it doing. >> the chinese historical society of america's museum, the political, social, historical contributions of chinese in america. we are gearing up for the gala september 19th. >> tell us a little about that, above and beyond in chinatown, what it is about. what do you want to make sure
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people understand about it. >> on saturday, september 19th we're going to be celebrating cecelia chiang. she's the celebrated restauranteur who introduced cuisine to mainstream america. >> food a big thing for these events. >> uh-huh. >> how about in terms of the festival itself. what do you want people to know about what's going on and honoring cecelia. >> well, because we are celebrating cecelia, she has a remarkable, extraordinary story. her story, she started her restaurant the mandarin almost by accident. i know from her working and putting her restaurant on the map, also had many celebrities
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and restauranteur, and in a way influenced not just chinese culture in america but american culture as well. those are the stories that teach us to celebrate. >> she was a cultural bridge for the people. >> absolutely. >> became iconic herself. >> what kind of role model does she present in this day and age? >> at the age of 95 still mentoring younger chefs. yeah. she wants to celebrate the art of chinese cuisine and to pass that along for generations to come. >> how does she fit into the museum in terms of what the museum likes to show. to me, the museum is very contemporary. it has historical perspective, but is contemporary. how does she fit into that vision. >> right. they're the contributions of introducing or northern chinese food to america.
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it's quite an accomplishment. we celebrate her and her life story. >> do you feel as though she's appreciated or known in the community? is this part of the reason you want to feature her in this? >> absolutely. she's definitely been able, like you said, to bridge chinese community and american communities. she was pioneering in her time when she came in the '60s. is very -- chinese community back then was very cantonese. she had something new to bring to the table. >> spanning those eras. >> yeah. >> what about in terms of the museum itself, what other things are going on coming up? >> on-going we have exhibits. we have underground chinatown, that's the story we tell for the celebration for the international exposition that
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happened in 1915. we tell a story, there was racism at the fair, even though it was celebrated world fair to attract the world to come for the development and technology of the time. well, at the time it was also a very racist country and chinese were not in the mainstream. >> the historical museum helped a lot of people understand that. one of the things i know that we have been talking to people about is how many classes, how many schools, how many school children interact with the museum nowadays. you have a lot of programs for them, don't you? >> we do. we offer tours and history and live theater programs as well as book readings and other fun activities and educational things. >> we were talking earlier about -- i didn't know whether the designation about sf or san
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francisco, is that something that gives you some sort of special privileges or what is it about that that makes it special? >> definitely. we are lucky to see how they designed the landmark museum, originally chinatown. it is a special situation in san francisco. and the fact we celebrate cecelia who settled here in san francisco and you know, our stories, we started in the chinatown community, san francisco chinatown, and talking about our theme above and beyond chinatown, we're also talking about how chinese and america have influenced american culture. that's been our thread in the stories we're telling. >> and you know, it is something we have been following, too. we have done features before in
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the museum. heaven forbid anyone thinks it is all educational. people that want to bring families, what kind of entertainment and things are going on at this festival? >> we're going to have some fine wines at the festival, going to have entertainment, with fortune tellers, magicians. good fun for the whole family. >> and again, we want to make sure people understand this. what do you want to make sure people think about when they come to this event but to the museum. what kind of experience you hope they'll have? >> we hope that they enjoy the time that they have at the museum, that they enjoy and celebrate chinese in america. >> thank you very much. good luck with your festival. >> thank you very much. >> again, it is called above and beyond chinatown, put on by chinese historical society of america museum. it is on september 19, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the chsa museum at 965 clay street in san
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francisco. nbc bay area is a proud media sponsor. get more information on stay with us. we will catch up with the big san francisco dragon boat race coming up next.
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the san francisco dragon boat race was one of the first segments when we started years ago. i remember it because it is unique, probably the billingest dragon boat festival in the u.s. with me, the race director for the san francisco international dragon boat festival. great to have you guys here. thank you for dressing up our set here. first of all, one of the things i was talking about when i first heard about it, i thought what a great race, great festival.
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it has been around so long. you get great crowds. tell us for people that haven't heard about it, it is a tradition, like a secret tradition. >> we would love it not to be a secret. this is the 20th year of the festival at treasure island. the secret came to the races and festival every year now. we are quite proud. all on a volunteer basis. we have grown in addition to drag boat races themselves a large festival that's great for the family and people of all ages. >> sounds self-explanatory, but what is the race? >> first off, the dragon boat is a 45 foot long boat. you can see it has a dragon head and tail, a drummer up front, and ten rows of two paddlers. 20 paddlers who power that boat
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along. it is usually a 500 meter race, done in like two minutes, a little under there. it is fun for the spectators. it is colorful, you have the sounds of the drummer, paddlers and six boats racing in two and a half minutes with a lot of emotion. it gives something from all your senses. >> and you can't just sort of do it, right? how much training is there, how much extensive training involved? >> it depends on what kind of team you want to become. at our festival we have three different divisions. we have one that's for knowledge, many corporate teams wanted to hop onto get three practices, and teams come from all over the world and train and they're also teams from san francisco that train here, and some train six to eight months a year, three times a week or so. it depends on the type of intensity you want.
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we also have better known division now, the youth division. we have a huge number of youth paddlers in the bay area. >> we brought this nice table decoration. give us an idea, it helps us talk about the folklore about the cultural aspects and food plays a big part. >> yeah, actually i guess the legend for dragon boating over 2200 years ago, there's a poet and scholar that was distraught by the political situation of china at the time. on the fifth day of the fifth month of the chinese winter calendar, he picked up a large rock, threw himself in the river and protest and to commit suicide. all the villagers raced out, beat the surface of the water with paddles to keep the fish and water spirits from his body
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and beat drums to scare away spirits as well. that re-enactment each year has given rise to the act of dragon boating. >> and talk about the food involved. >> there's food involved. because this was in the water, they threw rice in in hopes of them eating rice instead of the body. then the spirit said hey, like put it in silk, wrap the rise in silk so i can eat it, too. >> he was hungry. >> so then tradition had it where it evolved into wrapping in lotus leaves. now today we have it in all kinds of variation. we have meat and beans and other things. we all like to eat. >> we brought a couple here wrapped in lotus leaves now. i think everyone loves that this time of year eating these, even when not that festival time. >> best festival involves a lot of food. give me an idea, one of the
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things i remember when we talked about this was the personal involvement and growth of people that participated. talk a little about the youngsters that participate in this. >> like i said before, the youth division actually is a big part of dragon boating. huge number of youth there. i started to dragon boat at mission high school in san francisco. i initially started because i wanted to reach out to my heritage. i joined the chinese club at school. they had a dragon boat team. joining it in addition to the teams i did, this was a way i connected with my heritage and background and going through it, i really picked up a lot of leadership skills, how to network and socialize with students who were from other countries. that really brought me to grow as a leader, which helped me when i got to stanford university, i took the leadership and started to rebuild a team out there.
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from there thought about giving back to the community because the dragon boat community helped me grow as a leader. currently i am involved with the board, trying to give back to the youth in that way. in addition to giving back, i'm also very heavily involved in dragon boating. i dragon boat competitively with dragon warriors here. in addition to that, i participated in world competition for team usa in the under 24 division. recently came back from canada racing dragon boat championship. >> it does have a lot of social, personal and involvement and development here. >> absolutely. with 22 people, it is inherently social in a boat. >> thank you very much for being here. good luck at the festival. have fun there. appreciate it. >> thanks so much. >> dragon boat festival is september 19 and 20th at clipper cove at treasure island. for more details, go to
5:47 am stay with us on "asian pacific america." we will be showing some of the interesting events going on in and for the community. then we have a live performance from artists taking part in the upcoming san francisco world percussion festival. don't miss it.
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here are some events coming in the bay area communities. some we featured on our show. san jose japantown 125th anniversary concert is september 12th. it will feature the wesley uk lay lee band and wesley jazz ensemble and hula performers that put on a great live show recently. they're part of the celebration september 12th. $15 for individual admission, 20 at the door, children 12 and under free.
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for more information, go to time for the kimochi show september 12, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the main parking lot. spectacular show featuring street cars to muscle cars. it benefits an important organization that helps seniors and elders. get more information on the event and organization, go to or the alamat group generated thousands of hits on the website. they'll present a unique style of filipino folk dancing. 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at the skyline college theater. 330 college drive, building 1, in san bruno. tickets 30 for the matinee, 35 for the evening performance.
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for more information, go to when we come back, it will be our live performance in studio. the beat is definitely on as we present an early peek at the san francisco world percussion festival next.
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welcome back. time for our cultural performance. with me our old friend rohan krishnamurthy, who has not only been featured on the show before but on usa today and the times of india, india's leading newspaper. and bruce mui ghent, percussionist and executive director of san francisco world percussion arts festival. thank you for being here. rohan, welcome back. >> nice to be here. >> give us an idea of the pairing we are going to see and hear. >> this is the first time the instruments have been paired together. these are two of the most popular drums in the world. this one originated in india and
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those in japan. but this is the first time they're coming together. this duet really spot lights the rich sound pallet that the instruments of capable of, as well as intricate inter weaving of rhythm. you'll hear beat box using traditional drum language. >> sounds like a good way to talk about the festival. >> yes. >> what about it, how important is the festival for artists? >> very important. it celebrates different traditions of percussion all over the world. this year we are featuring west african drumming in the percussion. we have a duet. >> very good. thank you very much for being here. >> you're welcome. >> a preview of the festival going on. it will be the san francisco world percussion festival september 18 through 20, at the dance mission theater, 3316 24th street, san francisco. general admission, $20.
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get more information at go ahead, take it away. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ >> that's great. catch them at the festival and also get more information on the event and online ticket purchase information, go to find out more about our guests and their events on "asian pacific america," catch us on twitter and facebook. thanks to all our guests and thank you all for watching. now we go out on more great percussion music. enjoy and thanks for watching! ♪
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